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@Central #ILoveYou
by Donna Abraham (Prose - Short Story) | Published On: 19-May-2016

22 Feb ‘10
Finally! Mummy and Papa’s house warming done. Now I can quit.

“Dinner?” I asked Arun over the phone.
“Yes,” he replied.
ETA?”
“As usual.” This was our regular checkpoint at around 7 p.m. and the Expected Time of his Arrival was usually 11 p.m., at least an hour after my daughter and I were snoring in bed. My diary entry that night was the same as it had been for months or rather years, with the exception of my pregnancy months, when I wrote lovingly about my baby.


31 Nov ‘11
Spoke with Arun to check on dinner and arrival time.
I don’t know what came over me that night, I decided to play a game with my diary, my constant companion. I decided to write a tweet that I could send up to heaven in secrecy.
@central #feelingBored.

1 Dec ‘11
Spoke with Arun to check on dinner and arrival time.
@central #feelingBored

2 Dec ‘11
Spoke with Arun to check on dinner and arrival time.
@central #frustrated at the one sentence conversations with my life partner.

Oooh! I was getting better at this.

3 Dec ‘11
Spoke with Arun to check on dinner and arrival time.
@central #feelingfreaked please don’t mind the language, I know you understand. You are the only one who understands, who listens, who is there.

31 Dec ‘11
Yaay! We’re having another baby.
I asked Arun and he said “Ok!”
@central Gotta go, need to check the babyandmore.com ovulation calendar and message Arun dates. #projectNo.2

12 Jan ‘12
Sex after 2 years!
@central #HeLovesMe

I was pregnant! Arun went AWOL after the initial contribution. But, Central and I blossomed in our relationship sharing loving, healthy details of my baby. A baby sans Arun.

15 Oct ’12 (Entry for 15/10 written on 20/10)
My darling Kayla arrives. She is perfect.
@central I was ecstatic. Wishes poured in as Arun read out the messages to me in the hospital. We were together. #projectNo.2 delivered.

16 Oct ’12 (written on 20/10)
Spoke with Arun to check on arrival time at the hospital.
@central Value for money room service at #BabyBoom hospital, helpful nurses.

18 Oct ’12 (written on 20/10)
Welcome home Kayla!
@central #WeAreFamily!

4 Dec ‘12
In-laws returned back to their world.
@central Sorry, going to get busy now. Not sure about my regularity here. #Life

1 Jan ‘13
Kiara’s lovers:
Ma
Kayla
Maid Didi
Papa
@central #StrengthenFamilyTies

 

Thus, began my struggle to strengthen family ties, and I lost touch with Central. I just had to teach Kiara the importance of family. It was my family and I had to keep it together.


I struggled with Kiara, Kayla, Central, me, and a missing Arun as my life moved towards 30. It was on my 30th birthday that news of my two hearts leaked. My friend had tweeted a picture of me #LadyWith2Hearts XoXo. The picture had gone viral and overnight I had become famous. But along with the fame came the request to donate my extra heart.


'Are you sure, Rhea?' asked my mother.


'Of course I'm. Survival of the fittest, mother. I'm not going against Darwin. Also I don't want unnecessary scars on my body.'


“I already have enough scars!” I proclaimed.


‘It's a known fact that we are all born to die. And frankly, I don't understand why it has to be made into such a big deal. If it were not for my mother I would have said that to the bunch of people outside my house, some of them with young kids, shouting slogans, waving placards, literally wanting me to cut one of my beating hearts out. "Save A Life. Donate!" they shouted.


“Would those mothers do it if they had an extra heart? Would they not save it for their families, their children?” I vehemently demanded. I was a mother, and a fiercely protective one.


I shut the door to my room behind me and went and lay down next to my children. ‘My two souls. My hearts belonged to them, there was no way I was giving it to someone else.’ I promised myself as I wiped a tear that involuntarily pooled in my eye.


But, my mind did not settle. It kept arguing.


‘I was rare; one in billions. My mother had gifted me two hearts at birth and I intended to keep it. Years of research and examinations had not revealed any reason for my benefits. I was gifted. I had a good IQ, increased concentration, a phenomenal metabolism rate and was athletic, owing to an increased blood circulation. But, instead of preserving me as whole the doctors wanted to take one of my hearts out and save another life.


Huh? Why would I ever give up all the benefits? Not for a stranger for sure.’ As is, Arun was not keeping well these days. His BP and cholesterol levels were going up. Not that he told me this. Mummy called to advice me to care for Arun.

15 Jul ‘13
Was I not doing enough for Arun? I am taking care of the entire “backoffice operation”, so to speak. Arun just goes to work and earns the money. He does not get to know of anything happening back at home. He does not need to even talk to us about the stupid kitchen politics, the lowly maid troubles, the irrelevant diaper panics.
His life is smooth from every corner. If he has troubles at work, that’s what he bargained for. Those are the challenges he likes to take. They give him the adrenalin rush, the recognition, the victories he craves. The successes are his, the praise is his, the riches are his, the fun is his. Then, why do I have to share in his official failures? If he has downs at work, why do I need to talk to him about them and get his BP down, when he never speaks to me of his successes? When he never shares his joys with me?
When he never bothers to listen to my complaints at home, my maid troubles, my baby problems, my health issues, my needs of mental stimulation, my interests, my requirements for companionship.


Was withdrawing cash and keeping in his cupboard enough? I was to manage everything else at home with that money. Was he just a bank? Was that his only duty and responsibility towards us?


Was a diamond on wedding anniversaries enough? Or was that salary for my services?
Yet I was the bad woman.
@central #feelingFlustered


1 Oct ‘14
@central #feelingBored


1 Nov ‘14
Joined Bollywood dance lessons.
@central #feelingGreat


1 Jan ‘15
Gained 5 KGs.
@central #Failure


1 Apr ‘15
Kayla starts school.
@central #MyBabyIsBig


15 May ‘15
Joined book club.
@central #BookClubFriends


1 Nov ‘15
@central #LonelyInACrowd


1 Dec ‘15
Feeling lonely with both my girls off to school. Life seems to have lost its meaning. All the clubs and activities and groups can’t give me the companionship I am looking for. They seem to build temporary friends, but the love and care of a companion that most people took for granted from their partners seemed missing. Even though, the world advices to not take your loved ones for granted, but we all need someone whose love and care we take for granted.


Am I really needed?


Oh, but I am. My girls need me. Arun, can’t take care of them, he does not even know them.
I need to wait. I have an extra heart; to give them when they need one.
@central #MeaninglessLife


15 Dec ‘15
Started baking class.
@central #Motivated


21 Dec ‘15
Where is everyone? My kids, in a life of their own, blossoming and blooming into little butterflies.
Mom’s keeping a heart for you, dearies.
@central #HangingInThere


28 Dec ‘15
Arun’s cholesterol is high, he’s not keeping well these days. Got a health check-up done. Doctors have advised him to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
@central #Worried


30 Jan ‘16
Spoke with Arun to check on dinner and arrival time. Arun and his partner Neerav were supposed to come for dinner tonight. Just a casual celebration of a business win. Thought, of writing my diary entry until they reach.
@central #ExcitedToMeetPeople


Arun and Neerav finally arrived at 11 p.m. It was great to catch up with Neerav after so long. Neerav would come home some days to pick Arun up in case they were heading out for a meeting together.


It was 1 a.m. by the time the dinner got over. But, it was fun to talk to an adult for a change. I really enjoyed the dinner.


Post dinner, Arun and Neerav headed to the balcony for a smoke. ‘Arun should not be smoking,’ I thought. ‘It’s not good for him. I’ll just keep the dishes back and join them in the balcony.’

When I looked out into the balcony from the living room, they weren’t there. They had moved into the bedroom that shared the balcony. ‘I’ll just head over to the bedroom.’ I guess, it was my desire to have an adult conversation that pushed me to cross over to the bedroom.

As I reached over to the bedroom door, I could see Arun and Neerav bid goodbye. They hugged!


‘Is that how partners, men, friends, boys hug?
I thought, partners just nod at each other in goodbye’s.
Wasn’t something odd about that hug?’
‘It was definitely not the normal toast of a victory just won. It wasn’t the bashing of fists; it was a hug, a warm, protective, caring hug that was being camouflaged to look like two guys hugging. But I knew it was not. I saw the care in there. It was the hug I never got from Arun.’


I walked in to the room as they left. I had to sit on the bed. It took me a while to realize what I had just seen.


‘I cannot sit on that bed any more. I have to leave.’ I went over to the kids’ room and hugged them. I was shivering, I did not want to accept what I had just seen. I wanted to deny it, to erase everything, to go back to the way things were. Static.


‘It is all cool,’ I told myself. ‘I was misinterpreting, reading too much into nothing.’


But, deep down in my heart, I knew I wasn’t. Suddenly, it all made sense. The carelessness, lovelessness, Arun’s extremely busy life, his diamonds, his lack of time.


So it was all true, what they showed in movies and wrote in books. Love was meant to include hugs and kisses and care and time and talking and doing things together and sharing little happenings and not just big milestones. It was about calling each other through the day to talk about little events, be it the maid or the kids. It was about knowing the names of your kids, the class and section and teacher’s name. It was about Kayla calling her dad to tell him that her friend Tanvi did not share her chocolate. That constant calling, hugging, holding hands was not Bollywood; it was real life. People did that in real life. Arun did that in real life…with Neerav.

The next few days, I went crazy in my head thinking about what I had seen and, hopefully, what I was reading too much into.

Then, one night, Kiara asked me, “Mom, Dadi was telling me how dad’s heart is not well. You will give him your extra heart, won’t you?”
“What?”
“Dadi said, Dad’s heart is getting sick. But, we don’t have to worry, we’ve got extra in our family.”
‘Was Arun not keeping well?’ I wondered. Was I so caught up in my thoughts to have missed this?’
“But, what if you or Kayla need it?” I asked Kiara.
“Ours are great Mom. Dadi said, Dad’s is not.”
The next day, my Ma called to check on Arun’s health. “Arun’s mother had called. She told me about Arun’s health. How come you did not tell me?”
“Yeah…hmm...”
“You are getting so careless. Remember it is a wife’s duty to take care of her husband. I hope I don’t need to tell you how to use the gifts God has given you, if the need arises.”

As I sat on my bed thinking about how my life had shaped, what I could have had, all that I had lost, I felt disgust for Arun, I felt hatred for Arun, hatred for my life, helplessness.

I could not give my heart to Arun, even if he needed it. It was for my daughters. But, there was no way I could stand up to the pressures around me. No way, I could refrain from giving my heart to Arun, cause there was no way I could stand up for myself. No way that I could provide my daughters the lifestyle that Arun’s money could.

It had been a long time since I had left work for my family. I would have to restart from the bottom. Yet, it would never match up to the lifestyle Arun had provided my daughters.

Over the following days, Arun’s condition deteriorated. There were talks of transplants. But, I was feeling cheated. I could not decide in favour of donating my heart. The mothers called consecutively to advice me about the duties of a good wife. Kiara and Kayla started receiving calls telling them of their mom’s goodness as well as greed. Thankfully, Arun did not have the guts to ask me for a heart. How could he; it had never been his.


That day, he had an appointment in Medanta Medicity in Gurgaon. He was going in search of a heart, perhaps. The city was getting paralysed in the Jat agitation; I was getting paralysed in my mind’s conflicts. I could not think. I remembered Central. Perhaps its time to tell Central my thoughts.

20 Feb ‘16
I can’t decide.
I cannot give my heart to Arun. It was for my daughters. But, they don’t need it. Arun needs it, but it was never his. It was my heart, the organ he needed. He did not need me. No one needs me.
Arun is better for Kiara and Kayla. He can provide for them way better than me. Mummy and Papa can give them the love of so many people. I guess, that means its time for me to quit.
@central #IQuit.

As I was tweeting my last, what I did not realize was that Arun was caught up in the Jat agitation. NH8 was blocked and he was unable to take the exit towards Medicity. He decided to go further and get off where he could and return to Gurgaon meandering through the villages. But, he was stuck up on the outskirts and a mob headed in his direction.

“Trying to get away huh?” They bellowed. They beat him up with sticks and lathis and set his car ablaze. Arun fled his car and ran as far as he could. But, he could not reach far. He lay in a field to catch a breath. After an hour, he bled his last, as I hung from our bedroom fan breathing my last.
Three hearts for want of one.

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Author
Donna Abraham

Donna Abraham

Written: 4 Stories

Member Since: 18-May-2016

Country: India

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